2010-05-27 / Editorial

Memorial Day: A time to remember

Monday is Memorial Day. It is a festive time here in Jamestown. We observe this national holiday with an annual parade through the village, followed by a somber ceremony at the Veterans Memorial Square at East Ferry.

For many of us, Memorial Day is a holiday that marks the beginning of “shorts” season. Some of us consider the holiday to be just another three-day vacation. Folks get to take off from work. They may enjoy the great outdoors – sailing, golfing, bicycling or gardening. Maybe they’ll go to a baseball game. All are a pleasant way to spend the day. Families and friends will often gather for backyard cookouts.

We’ll return to work on Tuesday.

But let’s not forget the true reason we observe Memorial Day. The holiday was originally referred to as Decoration Day, when our nation’s Civil War dead were remembered.

Memorial Day was first observed on May 30 of 1868. That’s when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The observance grew state by state over the years. After World War I, the observance was expanded to include all of those who died in U.S. wars.

In 1971, Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday and set aside the last Monday in May as the official observance, also creating a three-day weekend.

Today, we remember those who have died in our nation’s service in the many wars and confl icts around the globe over the years.

This year, the Memorial Day observance is especially significant as American men and women continue to stand in harm’s way in the service of our country. Right or wrong, our nation is fighting wars on two fronts. Valiant men and women are killed daily in the line of duty.

Fly the flag. Take a few moments to reflect upon Memorial Day. Honor those who have made the greatest sacrifice so that we may continue to live in freedom. Be proud to be a citizen of the United States of America.

— Jeff McDonough

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